Taylor Guerrero and Courtney Wilson
Two lesbian women have accepted a settlement from the city of Honolulu after they were arrested for kissing in public last year.
Courtney Wilson and Taylor Guerrero from Los Angeles were visiting Hawaii in October when they were harassed by police officer Bobby Harrison in a grocery store.
He reprimanded them for holding hands, hugging and kissing in the aisles of the store and loudly told them to “take it somewhere else”.
When they refused to do so and the situation became heated, Harrison threw Guerrero to the ground and struck Wilson.
He then restrained and arrested them. They spent three days in jail on charges of felony assault on an officer, which were eventually dropped.
The women sued the Honolulu Police Department and the case was settled in court on Friday. They agreed to an $80,000 payment.
There won’t be any consequences for the officer, however, who has since retired; the settlement terms mean that there is no admission of guilt or wrongdoing.
“I don’t really know what either of us were looking to get honestly,” Wilson told Hawaii News Now.
“It wasn’t money or anything. We wanted to be compensated, but I think more or less we wanted Officer Harrison to suffer some sort of repercussions for his actions.”
The women are no longer together but remain friends. They have agreed to split the money after their legal bill are paid.
“For the publicity that it has gained, I hope that people saw it and it gives them inspiration to stand up for the civil rights that we have and to not tolerate bigotry behaviour like that because it’s not acceptable,” Wilson said.
The city said in a statement that the settlement was in “the best interests of the city”.